San Antonio Texas: NCRA’s 41st Annual Educational Conference


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Whether you visited the Alamo, enjoyed a river boat tour or simply took a stroll on the River Walk and ate at one of the many restaurants, the surroundings brought a warm welcome to a city with much culture and activity.  The first day of conference brought messages for the future with discussions on digital health coaches, cancer surveillance (rabbit, turtle, bird) measure of cancer growth, biomarkers and of course CS transition to directly coded staging.

The NPCR requirements for diagnosis year 2016 require directly coded SEER Summary Stage 2000, directly coded AJCC plus prognostic factors/biomarkers as defined and required.  SEER described they will be reviewing all the CS SSF’s and the potential of automating collection through linkages given the success of the Oncotype DX linkage.

The presenters reminded us many CTRs began with AJCC but even the most seasoned CTRs will require a refresher with the AJCC general and site rules.  Some CTRs do not have experience with SEER Summary Stage since it has been derived with the implementation of CS.  We were reminded that AJCC is a staging system while CS is a coding system.  As differences in CS and AJCC were discussed and group comparison examples were reviewed, the discussion supported the fact that “all” CTRs require education to learn or refresh their practice with AJCC assignment.  Both AJCC and SEER Summary Stage support will be available through the AJCC and NCRA websites.   AJCC is the authoritative source for AJCC and the Cancer Forum has and will continue to house questions and answers on this topic.

As the day was coming to a closure I began to reflect to when I began as a new registrar and learned both AJCC and SEER Summary Stage.  As I listened to the presenters I realized how fortunate we are to be a part of such an exciting field of Oncology care and in the registry profession.  We have the opportunity to be a part of the changes, learn and relearn and mentor CTRs for the future.  We are valuable assets not only to our cancer programs but to each other.  It felt appropriate to end the first day recognizing the “new” CTRs to the registry profession knowing they have countless opportunities ahead!

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